Mid-American Chants

Mid-American Chants

Mid-American Chants

Mid-American Chants

Excerpt

I do not believe that we people of mid-western America, immersed as we are in affairs, hurried and harried through. life by the terrible engine--industrialism--have come to the time of song. To me it seems that song belongs with and has its birth in the memory of older things than we know. In the beaten paths of life, when many generations of men have walked the streets of a city or wandered at night in the hills of an old land, the singer arises.

The singer is neither young nor old but within him always there is something that is very old. The flavor of many lives lived and of many gone weary to the end of life creeps into his voice. Words run out beyond the power of words. There is unworldly beauty in the song of him who sings out of the souls of peoples of old times and places but that beauty does not yet belong to us.

In Middle America men are awakening. Like awkward and untrained boys we begin to turn toward maturity and with our awakening we hunger for song. But in our towns and fields there are few memory haunted places. Here we stand in roaring city streets, on steaming coal heaps, in the shadow of factories from which come only the grinding roar of machines. We do not sing but mutter in the darkness. Our lips are cracked with dust and . . .

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